February 3, 2022

Trends Report: Future Predictors

The following is a part of our first Annual Trends Report. Stay tuned as we release the full report in the coming weeks.

Future Predictors: These are trends that fall into the lower left quadrant. They are less urgent, and while they are important to keep an eye on, their potential impact on our industry is not as significant as Emerging Matters.

Digital Commerce

While the world has been shifting to digital shopping experiences for decades, the circumstances of the global pandemic have accelerated this trend significantly.

Major shopping categories like consumer electronics, books, music, and video became majority ecommerce categories in 2020, and more are expected to flip throughout 2022. Overall, retail ecommerce grew nearly 34% in 2020, which was nearly triple eMarketer’s pre-pandemic forecast, with every category growing faster than expected.

Implications for Marketers

The rapid shift to buying online has solidified Amazon’s hold on the ecommerce space. Every business looking to transact online must consider the impact of Amazon, either by considering selling through the Amazon platform or considering how to create compelling customer value outside of that ecosystem.

Comprehensive digital commerce platforms like Shopify and SAP will continue to grow in influence as consumers seek out authentic, end-to-end experiences with brands. These types of platforms will likely give rise to many more new small businesses that are created, grown, and exist entirely in the digital world.

Further Reading


The Evolution of the C-Suite

The makeup of the executive teams at large companies has been shifting with the rapid changes in the business world. The general trends are toward these roles lining up against identified business outcomes rather than traditional functions. For example, the Chief Revenue officer is, in some cases, replacing (or at least taking responsibility for) the Chief Marketing Officer. The COO and CIO roles are merging in many cases with direct responsibility for financial and business outcomes. The role of the CFO is trending even more toward growth and away from cost reduction and efficiency, and CFO is increasingly the path to CEO.

Implications for Marketers

The marketing world has long traded on a series of abstractions. Impressions, clicks, conversions, and engagement metrics have been held up as ends unto themselves. With the attention of the C-Suite bending toward defined, measurable business outcomes, marketers must shift their focus as well. Even if day-to-day client contacts are focused on legacy metrics, agencies must find ways to connect marketing efforts to broader business objectives. This will mean entering new areas, collaborating with new partners, and reimagining the relationship between client and agency.

Further Reading


Healthcare at Home

Technology has enabled disruption across the healthcare industry, and the global pandemic has accelerated many of those disruptions. Today, patients can address many of their health needs without leaving their homes. Direct-to-consumer companies in categories like orthodontia, men’s health, hearing aids, vision, and more have cropped up and taken market share from established players. Huge increases in telemedicine during quarantine have normalized interacting with doctors virtually, and Amazon has launched Amazon Pharmacy, which allows its 82 million Prime members to have prescription drugs sent directly to their homes.

Implications for Marketers

These disruptions will likely bring brands and consumers closer together. It will make it even more important for health brands to think about building direct relationships with their audiences. Pharma brands will need help navigating the HCP and point-of-care marketing function with patients visiting the office with reduced frequency. All of these services (but Amazon Pharmacy in particular) have the potential to expose cost irrationality and apply pricing pressure. Which ultimately could have an impact on marketing budgets for health companies across the board.

Further Reading

Stay tuned for our full annual trends report.

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